If you’re a business owner trying to get people in your city to find your business, this post is for you. With more than 50% of people in the United States owning or working for a small business according to the Small Business Administration, helping and supporting local businesses is a bit of a passion for me. I am writing a post on how to get your business found by your potential customers. Let’s go through how to build local SEO for small business.
Local small businesses, that is, brick and mortar stores and practices, depend heavily on local customers. If you own a small business with a physical location, you may be wondering how to get more customers inside your store or practice. While there are many options to choose from, creating a local business SEO strategy is one of our top recommendations. We recommend building a local SEO strategy that targets both Google Maps and also Google search listings. Let’s take a look at how to build local SEO for small business by examining both of these:
Google Map Optimization (Google 3 Pack)
This is the top 3 map listings that Google shows for searches. It’s extremely beneficial for your local business SEO strategy to be ranked on these map listings for your industry keywords.
Google Search Listing Optimization
Getting ranked on Google provides many benefits for local businesses. Your local SEO for small business strategy should aim to be listed in the top 10 of Google search. A huge percentage of searches happen on page 1, so working to get listed here for your industry keywords is crucial.
How to Build Local SEO for Small Business
Now that we understand the types of local SEO for small business, Let’s review how to build local SEO for small business.
First things first.
Tip #1 – Get a Good Website
Your website needs to be optimized. I highly recommend small businesses use WordPress sites. There’s a reason why nearly 30% of all websites use WordPress, Google loves them.
Okay, so now what?
Tip #2 – Organize Your Website’s Structure
Don’t just get a WordPress website and expect amazing SEO results. You need a strategy for your business. When thinking about your website strategy, you should organize your information in a way that Google will love. Google’s goal is to rank the most relevant, user-friendly content at the top of search. Google’s mission statement reads:
“To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
The key word here is useful. Make your information useful for your customers. A way to get maximum bang for your buck is to break down your information so that your content is thorough and relevant to the page topic. We recommend that your business create separate pages for each service that you provide. For example, if you’re a psychologist, create separate pages for services like: Group psychotherapy, individual psychotherapy, etc.
Tip #3 – Optimize On-Page SEO
On Page SEO optimization is next.
It’s important to optimize your pages so that Google likes and lists them. You need your keyword in your copy, keyword in your metatag and descriptions, outbound links on your pages, internal links on your pages, alt text listed for your images, and much more we can write about in a future post.
Tip #4 – Create a Content Strategy
Creating a blog is a fantastic way to create new pages targeting new keywords.
So wait, what’s a keyword?
A keyword is a single word or phrase that someone types in in Google to find what they’re looking for. It’s CRITICAL to find what people are searching for in your niche. For example, an acupuncturist in Delray Beach, Florida should do research to find the top keywords in their local city. In this case “acupuncture Delray Beach” is the hyper-local keyword that makes sense to optimize for.
In addition to local keywords, you can optimize for broad keywords that Google happens to list local businesses for. So you may be asking, “How do I know if a broad keyword lists local businesses?” Easy. Google the keyword and if local results (maps or local businesses) show up in the search results, it’s a winner! I recommend optimizing your site for these keywords. An example of this for my industry is “internet marketing company” Google it. Here’s what happens when searched in West Palm Beach, Florida:
The Bart Organization (Us!) is listed #1 in the map, and #3 in search results. Nationally, we are ranked in the mid 20’s (We know, we have some work to do!) for this term “internet marketing company”, so why are we #1 in the maps and #3 in search from West Palm Beach, Florida? It’s because Google favors local businesses for many keywords that hint at offering local results.
Tip #5 – Get Quality NAP Citations
Now that we’ve gone over a basic local business SEO strategy, what’s next?
Now we have to target those Google Maps. In addition to the above 3 tips, one of the top strategies to rank your local business is to build NAP citations. What are NAP citations? NAP stands for Name Address Phone. Sometimes a “W” will be added after NAP, which stands for Website. These are standard listings of a company’s pertinent information for search engines to use and find. Think of this as the Yellow Pages of the web, but with thousands of available citation websites at your disposal. Your NAP are validations to Google and other search engine spiders that your business is legit. Some citations are more valuable than others, such as adding your NAP to Google and Facebook. One thing I must emphasize, your NAP should be EXACTLY the same everywhere. Inconsistencies can kill your local rankings because it confuses search engine spiders. My #4 tip for local SEO, get quality NAP citations and make sure they are all EXACTLY the same.
Tip #6 – Research Local Citation Sites in your Industry
Not only is it important to have your NAP listed on quality citations, but also to have quality citations locally and in your niche. Google puts a lot of stock in citations and it’s important to get your NAP and website listed in the most important directories for your business. Find quality local and niche citations for your business.
Tip #7 – Get Quality Reviews from your Customers
In the above image, I did not include the 3 map listings, also known as “structured data”. In addition to the above tips, getting quality 4 and 5 star reviews is important to Google to rank your business. Do not spam these reviews, it’s important to get real reviews from your real customers. Not every review needs to be a 5 star as it looks more authentic with a few 3 and 4 stars mixed in. However, if your reviews are very negative (below a 3.5) I recommend creating a review strategy ASAP. There are some crazy statistics about reviews out there that show just how vital they are from a psychological perspective for your potential customers. Just a few:
- 93% of consumers say reviews have an impact on their purchase decisions. (source: thedrum.com)
- 63% of consumers are willing to pay up to 15% more for the same product/service if assured they’d have a better experience. (source: thedrum.com
- 82% of consumers say the content of a review has convinced them to make a purchase. (source: thedrum.com)
Tip #8 – Boost Your Keywords with Quality Back-links
My #8 tip for building local SEO for small business is to get quality back-links. After you have a created content targeting keywords, it’s important to bring authority to your pages. A big factor in this is back-links. Back-links are links that other websites use to reference your pages. While using social media to link to your content is a great practice (Google sees receiving social media links as “social signals”) they won’t necessarily give you the ‘juice’ that other quality links do. That is because social media links are “no-follow” links. However, more shares and interactions to your posts, the more Google can assess that your content is popular. It’s important to have a nice mixture of “no-follow” links as well as “do-follow” links.
An example of a “do-follow” link is the following: A great acupuncturist can help relieve you relieve shoulder pain. I am telling Google that this URL is valuable to me by linking (contextually – meaning, links typically found in the body of text on a website that naturally fit in the ideas being discussed) to it and giving it the “do-follow” link juice. While social media are “no-follow” links, they can be incredibly beneficial to get the word out about your post which can be linked by other websites. Also, search engine results can list your blog posting on google in the actual search results.
Tip #9 – Take Advantage of Other Marketing Channels
Be sure to take advantage of your other channels to help your SEO. Creating content on social media, email campaigns, even advertising (as long as you’re sending people back to your website) can help your local SEO.
Tip #10 – Consistency, Time, Effort
Is there anything else?
Yes! SEO is a long-term strategy. Slowly but surely, the goal is to rank for new keywords. It’s important to continue creating new content (like this blog post) to try to target new keywords and attract links (linkable assets). It’s also important to continue getting quality links pointed back to your website. You can even create a strategy pointing links internally to your website. Believe it or not, internal linking can help your ranking!
Marketing is not magic. It takes a consistent, ongoing strategy, which takes time and effort. Keep going, don’t give up. You can do it!
Let’s digest all of that information:
Local SEO for Small Business Checklist:
- Build a quality website (wordpress.org)
- Organize your website’s structure
- Optimize on-page SEO
- Create a content strategy
- Build quality NAP citations
- Research and build citation sites in your industry
- Get quality reviews from your customers
- Get quality backlinks
- Take advantage of other marketing channels
- Be consistent, don’t give up!
How are your SEO strategies coming along? Do you know which keywords you’re ranking for? We’d be more than happy to review your web presence and provide you with a free consultation.
The Bart Organization is an Internet Marketing company that helps businesses of all sizes either start digital marketing strategies or improve their current digital marketing efforts. We specialize in internet marketing services including: Social media marketing, digital advertising, SEO strategy, local SEO services, and website strategy. We also perform SEO West Palm Beach, Miami SEO, Fort Lauderdale SEO, and Charlotte SEO for clients. Contact us today to see how we can help!
Photo credit: Holly Green, AcuSportsTherapy Acupuncture